Time Management: Another Lesson in leading

Have you ever asked yourself how some people are able to work so many different activities into their schedules while others barely seem to have the time to attend classes? are they smarter? Probably not. More organized? Probably. Better at managing time? You got it!

Time management is important to any person, but particularly to student organizations members and leaders. Involvement in extra or co-curricular activities means that in addition to classes, homework, meals, jobs, and socializing, another significant amount of time is taken up with organizational obligations.

Time management is a personal skill; only you know your peak work hours, your attention span, your eating and sleeping needs– which must be planned for. Finding a time management strategy that best fits your needs is important.

Follow what I call the Big Five:

1. Plan-Individuals who set personal goals have a greater chance of success. Create realistic goals, believable and achievable. People who set goals also evaluate their progress and make any necessary changes on a regular basis. So, if you want to better manage your time, your first step is to set the goals you would like to achieve, either for the semester, year or throughout your college career.

2. Assess- Assess how you currently use your time. You cannot make productive changes unless you know what areas need to be changed. Keep a log of your time and find the breaks in your day where you can make changes. Begin to prioritize your activities and work your way down your list.

3. Organize- Ideally, you should make a list each morning of everything that you need to do for that day. Some people find it more helpful to list their “things to do” in 5 to 7 day groupings. In this way they can plan for longer projects and get a better sense of their week. Whichever method you choose, keep in mind that everyone has good and bad days. Don’t hide if you don’t accomplish everything, just include the uncompleted tasks to your next day’s list and get them done.

4. Prioritize- After you have recorded these “things to do”, go over the list and rewrite in priority order which things you need to do at the top and less important/pressing tasks at the bottom. Keep in mind due dates, commitments you have made, and whether or not these tasks involve other people. How you choose to prioritize is a very personal matter. What is important is that you are responsible with your priorities. Review your personal goals-how do these priorities fit with your goals?

5. Schedule- The last thing to do is to take this list and begin to work these “things to do” into your schedule.Remember to leave room for breaks, socializing and those unexpected things that pop up. There’s no use making a schedule that is impossible to follow.

Try these suggestions, see what works for you best, and then be sure to integrate them into your learning lifestyle. Learning effective time management now will help you throughout your personal life and professional career.

Learn to say now. You will reach a point when there is only so much that you can do instead of burning yourself out or not doing quality work. Learn to balance how much you can do with what you need to do.

photo from flickr gamookie

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~ by stacianne on February 19, 2008.

One Response to “Time Management: Another Lesson in leading”

  1. i would add a sixth: stick to #5. nothing obstructs good time management than letting things run over and not stayinig with a good schedule once it’s been put together.

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